Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready.’
Source: Jerusalem Bible
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“And Lead Us Not Into Temptation”
2846 This petition goes to the root of the preceding one, for our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to “lead” us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both “do not allow us to enter into temptation” and “do not let us yield to temptation.” “God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one”; on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle “between flesh and spirit”; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength.
2847 The Holy Spirit makes us discern between trials, which are necessary for the growth of the inner man, and temptation, which leads to sin and death. We must also discern between being tempted and consenting to temptation. Finally, discernment unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears to be good, a “delight to the eyes” and desirable,154 when in reality its fruit is death.
God does not want to impose the good, but wants free beings. . . . There is a certain usefulness to temptation. No one but God knows what our soul has received from him, not even we ourselves. But temptation reveals it in order to teach us to know ourselves, and in this way we discover our evil inclinations and are obliged to give thanks for the goods that temptation has revealed to us.
2848 “Lead us not into temptation” implies a decision of the heart: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. . . . No one can serve two masters.” “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” In this assent to the Holy Spirit the Father gives us strength. “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it.”
2849 Such a battle and such a victory become possible only through prayer. It is by his prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony. In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to his battle and his agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with his own. Vigilance is “custody of the heart,” and Jesus prayed for us to the Father: “Keep them in your name.” The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch. Finally, this petition takes on all its dramatic meaning in relation to the last temptation of our earthly battle; it asks for final perseverance. “Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake.”
The Lord speaks peace to his people.
I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
a voice that speaks of peace.
His help is near for those who fear him
and his glory will dwell in our land.
The Lord speaks peace to his people.
Mercy and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
and justice look down from heaven.
The Lord speaks peace to his people.
The Lord will make us prosper
and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
and peace shall follow his steps.
The Lord speaks peace to his people.
Saint John of Capestrano (Italian: San Giovanni da Capestrano, Hungarian: Kapisztrán János, Polish: Jan Kapistran, Croatian: Ivan Kapistran, Serbian: Јован Капистран, Jovan Kapistran) (24 June 1386 – 23 October 1456) was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest from the Italian town of Capestrano, Abruzzo. Famous as a preacher, theologian, and inquisitor, he earned himself the nickname ‘the Soldier Saint’ when in 1456 at age 70 he led a crusade against the invading Ottoman Empire at the siege of Belgrade with the Hungarian military commander John Hunyadi.
Elevated to sainthood, he is the patron saint of jurists and military chaplains, as well as the namesake of the Franciscan missions San Juan Capistrano in Southern California and San Juan Capistrano in San Antonio, Texas.
As was the custom of this time, John is denoted by the village of Capestrano, in the Diocese of Sulmona, in the Abruzzi region, Kingdom of Naples. His father had come to Italy with the Angevin court of Louis I of Anjou, titular King of Naples. He studied law at the University of Perugia.
In 1412, King Ladislaus of Naples appointed him Governor of Perugia, a tumultuous and resentful papal fief held by Ladislas as the pope’s champion, in order to effectively establish public order. When war broke out between Perugia and the Malatestas in 1416, John was sent as ambassador to broker a peace, but Malatesta threw him in prison. It was during this imprisonment that he began to think more seriously about his soul. He decided eventually to give up the world and become a Franciscan Friar, owing to a dream he had in which he saw St. Francis and was warned by the saint to enter the Franciscan Order. Having never consummated the marriage, he asked and received permission from his wife to annul the marriage and started studying theology with Bernardino of Siena.
Friar and preacher
Together with James of the Marches, John entered the Order of Friars Minor at Perugia on 4 October 1416. At once he gave himself up to the most rigorous asceticism, violently defending the ideal of strict observance and orthodoxy, following the example set by Bernardine. From 1420 onwards, he preached with great effect in numerous cities and eventually became well known.
Unlike most Italian preachers of repentance in the 15th century, John was effective in northern and central Europe – in German states of Holy Roman Empire, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Kingdom of Poland. The largest churches could not hold the crowds, so he preached in the public squares—at Brescia in Italy, he preached to a crowd of 126,000.
Incites violence against Jews
John was known as the “Scourge of the Jews” for his inciting of antisemitic violence. Like some other Franciscans, he ranged over a broad area on both sides of the Alps, and John’s preaching to mass open-air congregations often led to pogroms. In 1450 the Franciscan “Jew-baiter” arranged a forced disputation at Rome with a certain Gamaliel called “Synagogæ Romanæ magister”. Between 1451 and 1453, his fiery sermons against Jews persuaded many southern German regions to expel their entire Jewish population, and in Silesia, then Kingdom of Bohemia, at Breslau some were burned at the stake.
When he was not preaching, John was writing tracts against heresy of every kind. This facet of his life is covered in great detail by his early biographers, Nicholas of Fara, Christopher of Varese and Girlamo of Udine. While he was thus evangelizing, he was actively engaged in assisting Bernardine of Siena in the reform of the Franciscan Order, largely in the interests of a more rigorous discipline in the Franciscan communities. Like Bernardine, he strongly emphasized devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, and, together with that saint, was accused of heresy on this account. In 1429, these Observant friars were called to Rome to answer charges of heresy, and John was chosen by his companions to speak for them. They were both acquitted by the Commission of Cardinals appointed to judge the accusations.
He was frequently deployed to embassies by Popes Eugene IV and Nicholas V: in 1439, he was sent as legate to Milan and Burgundy, to oppose the claims of the Antipope Felix V; in 1446, he was on a mission to the King of France; in 1451 he went at the request of the emperor as Apostolic Nuncio to Austria. During the period of his nunciature, John visited all parts of the Empire, preaching and combating the heresy of the Hussites; he also visited Poland at the request of Casimir IV Jagiellon. As legate, or inquisitor, he prosecuted the last Fraticelli of Ferrara, the Jesuati of Venice, the Crypto-Jews of Sicily, Moldavia and Poland, and, above all, the Hussites of Germany, Hungary and Bohemia; his aim in the last case was to make talks impossible between the representatives of Rome and the Bohemians, for every attempt at conciliation seemed to him to be conniving at heresy.
John, in spite of this restless life, found time to work—both during the lifetime of his mentor, Bernardine, and afterwards—on the reform of the Order of Friars Minor. He also upheld, in his writings, speeches and sermons, theories of papal supremacy rather than the theological wranglings of councils (see Conciliar Movement). John, together with his teacher, Bernardine, his colleague, James of the Marche, and Albert Berdini of Sarteano, are considered the four great pillars of the Observant reform among the Friars Minor.
The soldier saint
After the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Empire, under Sultan Mehmed II, threatened Christian Europe. That following year Pope Callixtus III sent John, who was already aged seventy, to preach a Crusade against the invading Turks at the Imperial Diet of Frankfurt. Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary. John succeeded in gathering together enough troops to march onto Belgrade, which at that time was under siege by Turkish forces. In the summer of 1456, these troops, together with John Hunyadi, managed to raise the siege of Belgrade; the old and frail friar actually led his own contingent into battle. This feat earned him the moniker of ‘the Soldier Priest’.
Although he survived the battle, John fell victim to the bubonic plague, which flourished in the unsanitary conditions prevailing among armies of the day. He died on 23 October 1456 at the nearby town of Ilok, Kingdom of Croatia in personal union with Hungary (now a Croatian border town on the Danube).
Sainthood and feast day
The year of John of Capistrano’s canonization is variously given as 1690, by Pope Alexander VIII or 1724 by Pope Benedict XIII. In 1890, his feast day was included for the first time in the General Roman Calendar and assigned to 28 March. In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved his feast day to 23 October, the day of his death. Where Mass and the Office are said according to the 1962 Roman Missal and its concomitant calendar, his feast day is still kept on March 28.